How Yoga Helped With My Anxiety
I remember feeling stuck, defeated, and as if there was little to no hope around to lift me back up. The sweat spells, the confusion, the fear and the feeling that I was all alone are only a few symptoms I experienced a little too often with my uncontrolled anxiety. Anxiety is common, with over 6.8 million people suffering every day (ADAA.Org). Yet, not everyone is aware of it. Most individuals who experience symptoms of anxiety pass these feelings off as stress, leaving only 43% of this population seeking out treatment for anxiety control. Of course, I fall under the latter of not seeking out treatment, that is, until I found yoga.
Pharmaceutical drugs have never been my go-to, raised by a true hippie, we rarely consumed over the counter drugs and instead, encouraged optimum health the good ol’ organic way; through diet, essential oils, movement, sound healing and laughter. Despite following all of the rules, I still experience moments of panic. However, the impact of these experiences is now much more manageable, all because I found yoga.
As someone who used to experience at least 2-3 panic attacks a month in my early twenties, I can, with confidence, say that these lifestyle changes developed in my younger years have improved my ability to control my emotions, nerves, and actually step into a place of acceptance, compassion, and empathy for myself.
Do I have bad days? Yes.
Do I still experience anxiety? Yes.
Do I still suffer from Panic Attacks? No.
Do I attribute the success of my controlled emotions to my dedication to healing my mind, body, and soul? Yes.
When I roll out my mat and allow myself to connect to my breath, everything around me begins to slow down. The background noises begin to fade and eventually all I can hear is the powerful force of my breath flowing through my body, charging me up, reminding me that I am here, not there. There- as in worrying too much about the past or the future. When my breath is slow and my mind is calm, so are my stress levels, leaving no energy to produce any sort of physiological arousal. When I feel the energy of my prana, my breath, exist in the body, so does the weight of my worries; and then, it’s as if they almost vanish into thin air, just like that.
Some days, I still feel defeated. Some days, I still want to curl up in a little ball and cry endless tears on my bed while my dog licks my cheeks because he knows it’ll bring a slight smirk to my face, even if for a mere second, and I love him for that. Some days none of it makes sense. Some days it all makes sense. Yoga has taught me how to move with a little more fluidity through this constant dance of ebbs and flows.
Yoga is teaching me all of this-- how to breathe, how to relax, how to accept, and how to continue to walk with my head high, even on the darkest of days. Yoga is reminding me that I am a survivor, that I had the strength then to get me to where I am now, and I will always have the strength to carry myself forward as long as I stay present, true, and open to this journey that yoga has so kindly introduced me to.
I know my breath is here to help anchor me down when the storms roll through. My breath is here to remind me that I am not anxiety. I am not fear. I am not doubt. I am only a mere image of the exact person I deserve to be. I am strong. I am capable. I am me, and I am perfect just the way I am.
Experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression? Help is out there. There’s always an option to seek out a conversation with your doctor and/or psychotherapist. There are many different avenues and methods to try. Find what feels right for you.